The rich history of Saskatchewan’s early 20th century buildings is a common theme in two new exhibits at Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.
The “Legacy of Stone” exhibit features stone buildings throughout the province. Over the course of three years, starting in 2005, Larry Easton, a Regina photographer, documented almost all of the mortar and stone buildings in Saskatchewan.
The photos were taken for the book Legacy of Stone, which he joined with Frank Korvermaker and Margaret Hryniuk to create.
The book launched in 2008 and since then the exhibit has traveled to three different locations. Since then, many of Easton’s photos have sold and some are framed while others are canvas prints.
New to this display is a frame with three different photos of Orcadia church and school, which are right across from each other.
For Easton, previous experience with architectural photography taught him that the right light and the right angle were necessary. He sometimes had to return at a different time of day, usually early in the morning or late at night, just to capture a softer light.
“Light is everything when it comes to photography of anything for that matter,” said Easton.
While stone buildings were built to last a long time on the prairies, the extreme weather causes damage as seasons change in Saskatchewan. The changes create cracks in the mortar that can jar stones loose. Whether buildings become ruins or are demolished because of the safety hazards, “several of the buildings I had photographed are no longer around.”
Although Easton, Korvermaker and Hryniuk are “not exactly spring chickens anymore,” they currently have a follow up book in the works, said Korvermaker. Again, it will feature early 20th century buildings, but this time the focus is on rural churches.
“That was part of the objective of Legacy of Stone, was to offer new information, new photographs and to make people realize just how exciting and interesting the architectural heritage and stories of our rich history really are,” said Korvermaker.
Another exhibit at the gallery, titled “Memory Eternal: Secret Churches of West Central Saskatchewan,” similarly documents churches, many of which are falling into disuse. Ed Stachyruk, a Wynyard resident, took photographs that are “crafted with careful attention to detail, offer an homage to this visual and spiritual heritage, part of the fabric of west central Saskatchewan and across the Prairies that is slowly fading away,” states the gallery’s website.
Visitors can expect to see the powerful image of Jesus and his disciples ornately displayed in the midst of simple surroundings. The juxtaposition is notable in a picture of a model Ukrainian Catholic church sitting on a table. Spiderwebs hang on the model, which is surrounded by the room’s unfinished walls.
The Godfrey Dean Gallery will display “Memory Eternal” until September.